Faith is the Opposite of Anxiety

Faith is the Opposite of Anxiety

I’d like to share something with you all that I never really talk about. I don’t like to get too personal because personal and professional boundaries are important. Yet, I’m choosing to share this part of my life with you all because I often hear other healing arts entrepreneurs struggle with this same thing.

I had a pretty challenging childhood. I grew up poor and that affected my relationship towards money and self-worth. Poverty messes with your brain in ways that can affect you over time and in many ways.  Ways that have taken years of therapy to work through! In the past, I have even had panic attacks when working on wealthy clients because the voice in my head that says, “I’m not worthy”, won’t shut the hell up!

Here I am, a healing arts professional with 14 years of experience under my belt. I have multiple degrees and countless certifications. I’ve worked on thousands of clients and had hundreds of students over the years, and yet shaking that feeling of not being good enough is still a struggle for me.

Thankfully, most days the negative voice is quiet or non-existent. This is the result of years of practice with re-educating my brain. Being a wellness professional doesn’t mean that I am immune to intrapersonal struggles, but it does mean that I have come up with ways to help myself when I am panicked. When I feel the anxiety coming on, I remind myself of these things:

Quiet Your Mind

  • The harmful things my mind is telling me is a result of my childhood and is not rooted in an assessment of my skills. Reminding myself of this brings me back into the present instead of replaying old mental tapes.

Faith in Your Foundation

  • Faith is the opposite of anxiety. If I am struggling with faith in myself, my faith in the foundation of the healing modalities I practice is forever unshaken! Having a strong foundation in eastern and western approaches to massage and bodywork makes me feel like I am supported by all of the healers who have lent their wisdom over the ages to perfect these traditions. Studying with experienced professionals has helped me to build confidence.

Trust the Work

  • When I quiet my mind and have faith in my foundation, it makes me feel like the work is bigger than myself…which it is! It helps me to trust the work and get out of my own way.

  Are you struggling with confidence in yourself as a healing arts professional? Wouldn’t it be great to build a stronger foundation in massage and bodywork, replete with a larger body of knowledge?

I can help you with that.

Along with an array of courses in the United States, I’m going back to Thailand for the third time June 22-30, 2019 and I’d love for you to join me! This time, I’ll be teaching at Samahita Retreat Center, located on the lovely island, Koh Samui.

Spend 9-days learning Thai massage, partner yoga, and how to incorporate eastern knowledge in western settings. The course I’ll be teaching is eligible for NCBTMB CE hours in most states, including New York. (Contact me for details and I can tell you if it is approved in your state). You will learn traditional Thai massage combined with innovative techniques that are evidence-based…and plenty of variations based on body types and injuries!

Not a massage therapist? Yoga and fitness professionals are welcome!

This is not only an opportunity to build your practice and earn continuing education hours, but it is also a chance to explore the other side of the world! Click here to learn more and register! Anyway, I’m so glad that I was able to share my experiences with you all in hopes of helping someone else that struggles with the same thing.

Remember…quiet your mind, have faith in your foundation, and trust the work.

Join Vanessa in Thailand!

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Thai culture. Breathe in the sights and sounds while relaxing on gorgeous beaches. Eat healthy meals while meeting new friends!

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Don't Forget Your Freebie!

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Meet Vanessa Hazzard

Since 2005, I have been helping folks to reduce chronic and acute pain, decrease stress, improve athletic performance, restore range of motion, and simply relax while hiding from the kids and in-laws. In short, I help you be resilient to whatever life throws at you!
Sessions take place at Learn Reiki Philadelphia.

Lets get to know each other! Join my Thai Yoga Massage community on Facebook. 

Should Americans Study Thai Massage in Thailand?

Should Americans Study Thai Massage in Thailand?

Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles” for a reason. The people are as warm as the weather. The food is affordable and delicious. There are many beautiful Buddhist temples! Even if you are not Buddhist, the architecture alone is awe-inspiring!

In my previous blog, I talked about my first visit to Chiang Mai, Thailand. While it was the best decision I’ve ever made, there are still many differences between studying massage in the United States and studying in Thailand. I’m often asked if I prefer one experience more than the other. There are pros and cons to both. Massage therapy isn’t standardized worldwide. Therefore, before making the decision to study abroad, there are many factors to consider.

There are wonderful teachers in Thailand and if you find them, learn from them! And yet, not all teachers are for everyone. My goal is not to bash anyone. My goal is to give insight into what you may encounter based on my first-hand experience:

Language Barrier

While many people in Thailand speak some conversational English, there still may be a language barrier that exists in the classroom setting. I have seen students encounter this specifically when referring to anatomical terms. Thai massage is largely energetic, so in the places I’ve learned, the sen lines and acupoints are referred to more often than the actual muscle group. When westerners with a background in anatomy and physiology have asked for clarification for the corresponding anatomical structure, there was some difficulty translating it to English.

Certificates

Many of the schools in Thailand offer certificates as a part of their training. The downside is the certificates that you get after completing the course are not accepted in the United States as part of the required hours to earn your massage therapy license. Some schools are now offering NCBTMB continuing education hours. This is great if your state accepts CE hours from the NCBTMB.

Some states, like Louisiana, require a completely separate application form from its providers. If you live in New York, the CE provider has to submit an additional form, along with the initial approved provider application. This is something that many American LMTs are not aware of, and they end up having to take additional CE courses back home because the classes they took abroad do not count!

Adaptability

When learning Thai massage during a weekend or weeklong course, you are taught a routine. While this is a great way to learn, oftentimes there are not many adjustments offered for people with different body types, levels of flexibility, and injuries. As a person with a flexible and heavier body type, this was a bit of a challenge at times. Some moves my teacher had the other students skip on me because he didn’t know how to adjust on a body like mine.

Also, there are still misconceptions about certain conditions, like pregnancy and cancer, that have been debunked in the west, but still remain prevalent in the east. For example, I have been told by teachers in Thailand that touching a pregnant person’s ankles and/or thumb webbing will cause an abortion. Yet, we now know that you can perform this without causing harm to the fetus.

 

While learning Thai massage abroad is not quite like learning in the United States, don’t let that be a deterrent! I’m going back to Thailand for the third time June 22-30, 2019 and I’d love for you to join me! This time, I’ll be teaching at Samahita Retreat Center, located on the lovely island, Koh Samui. Spend 9-days learning Thai massage, partner yoga, and how to incorporate eastern knowledge in western settings.

The course I’ll be teaching is eligible for NCBTMB CE hours in most states, including New York. (Contact me for details and I can tell you if it is approved in your state). You will learn traditional Thai massage combined with innovative techniques that are evidence-based…and plenty of variations based on body types and injuries!

Not a massage therapist? Yoga and fitness professionals are welcome!

This is not only an opportunity to build your practice and earn continuing education hours, but it is also a chance to explore the other side of the world!

If you are ready to say yes to adventure and transformation, click here to learn more and register for the experience of a lifetime!

I Was Frazzled, Scared, but I Did It Anyway: My First Trip to Thailand

I Was Frazzled, Scared, but I Did It Anyway: My First Trip to Thailand

Starting Over

Few people know the real reason I went to Thailand when I did. I have been wanting to travel there since I first learned Thai massage 12 years ago. Yet, between starting a family and figuring out my path as a wellness professional, the timing was never right. In March 2012, my then-husband and I decided to divorce. It was easily the most challenging period of my life. I was confused, depressed, yet weirdly empowered to move on and recreate a different path for myself. Up until that point, the career decisions I made revolved around being a wife and a mom.

Don’t get me wrong, I considered my own happiness as well, but I factored in how my choices would impact my husband and son. At the time, I was practicing massage therapy, yoga, and Reiki. I was happy, but the money was inconsistent, and I didn’t have the acumen to build the kind of business that could support us. I loved teaching massage therapy, but the school was an hour away…plus I had to work shifts that made it impossible to spend time with my family.

This was also before Obamacare so we were reliant on my ex-husband’s health insurance. Unfortunately, his job was physically and mentally taxing and didn’t offer much in terms of compensation. Because of all of that, I decided to change careers and began looking at nursing schools. It wasn’t my passion to be a nurse, but it was a stable and sensible career choice that would allow me to be the kind of wife and mother that my family deserved.

After we decided to separate, everything fell apart. I stopped applying to nursing schools, I quit my teaching position, and my son and I moved back in with my mom. I didn’t know what was next for me because, for the past five years, everything revolved around a family that was now broken up. I now was tasked with creating a new life and future for myself and my son.

I had some money saved up and I considered going to Thailand for a week or so, since I needed to do continuing education hours anyway. Plus, since I put off the trip when I decided to start a family, it seemed fitting that I go now thatI’m starting over. I talked to my mom about it, and she told me to go for 3weeks…considering the flights are about 20ish hours!

So, I went.

Bum Guns and Comfort Zones

Two months after separating from my ex, I was on a flight to the other side of the world. I’ve never flown internationally…and I haven’t ever flown by myself. After traveling through Seattle and South Korea, I found my way to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. I told the guesthouse manager the time that my flight landed, but I didn’t factor in the line for immigration and currency exchange.

By the time I arrived at the guesthouse, it was closed! Luckily, there were a few guests still awake at 12:30 am that knew the manager and had her phone number. She lived nearby and arrived within 10 minutes to show me to my room. I listened to the Alabama Shakes while I unpacked and attempted to get some rest.

 

 

One of the spots I enjoyed most was a lake outside Chiang Mai.

The next few days were spent getting used to navigating Chiang Mai, finding places to eat, and learning to use a bum gun. In my preparation for the trip, I somehow missed how to use the potty! So, in Thailand, you cannot flush toilet paper. It has to go in the wastebasket. Their septic system can’t handle it. Instead, there is a hose hooked up to the toilet that you squirt your…uhh… parts. Then you use the toilet paper to dry yourself. It took some getting used to, but now I actually prefer that way!

Once I started Thai massage school, I felt more settled. I made friends from around the world-many of which I am still friends with nearly 7 years later. English was people’s second or even third language, and yet we connected as if there were no barriers at all. Some of the people I met were also going through tough transitions in life. We comforted and supported one another… all while learning fun Thai massage techniques! After only being there for a few weeks, Chiang Mai felt like home. It still does to this day.

 

 

Pasi (Finland), Julie (France), Rhonnie (New Zealand), and Stelios (Greece) hanging out at
Wa Lai House! 

That life-altering experience taught me that you can’t recreate yourself inside your comfort zone. I needed to go where no one knew me,so no one could compare me to my former self. Now, several years later, I decided to remain a massage therapist, yoga instructor, and wellness educator. I earned my Bachelor of Applied Science in Massage Therapy and am currently earning my Masters in Adult and Continuing Education.

I’ve written books and articles on massage therapy, as well as produced instructional videos. I have taught hundreds of massage therapists and yoga instructors Thai massage and western-based bodywork. I look forward to sharing the healing arts with hundreds more!

Travel is a Gift of Transformation

As you can tell by my story, international travel can be daunting and scary, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m going back to Thailand for the third time June 22-30, 2019 and I’d love for you to join me! This time, I’ll be teaching at Samahita Retreat Center, located on the lovely island, Koh Samui. Spend 9-days learning Thai massage, partner yoga, and how to incorporate eastern knowledge in western settings.

This is not only an opportunity to build your practice and earn continuing education hours, but it is also a chance to explore the other side of the world!

If you are ready to say yes to adventure and transformation, click here to learn more and register for the experience of a lifetime!

Please Share!

Join Vanessa in Thailand!

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Thai culture. Breathe in the sights and sounds while relaxing on gorgeous beaches. Eat healthy meals while meeting new friends!

Learn More

Don't Forget Your Freebie!

Get my free book on relieving low back pain

Get It Now!

Meet Vanessa Hazzard

Since 2005, I have been helping folks to reduce chronic and acute pain, decrease stress, improve athletic performance, restore range of motion, and simply relax while hiding from the kids and in-laws. In short, I help you be resilient to whatever life throws at you!
Sessions take place at Learn Reiki Philadelphia.

Lets get to know each other! Join my Thai Yoga Massage community on Facebook. 

Thai Massage Hip Flexor Stretch Video

Thai Massage Hip Flexor Stretch Video

This is a brief clip from my Thai Massage Level One class in Philadelphia, PA. It shows how to perform a hip flexor stretch.

For more information on classes and sessions, visit www.nirvanalandcontinuinged.com

Please Share!

Join Vanessa in Thailand!

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Thai culture. Breathe in the sights and sounds while relaxing on gorgeous beaches. Eat healthy meals while meeting new friends!

Learn More

Don't Forget Your Freebie!

Get my free book on relieving low back pain

Get It Now!

Meet Vanessa Hazzard

Since 2005, I have been helping folks to reduce chronic and acute pain, decrease stress, improve athletic performance, restore range of motion, and simply relax while hiding from the kids and in-laws. In short, I help you be resilient to whatever life throws at you!
Sessions take place at Learn Reiki Philadelphia.

Lets get to know each other! Join my Thai Yoga Massage community on Facebook. 

Thai Massage is for More Than a Good Stretch

Thai Massage is for More Than a Good Stretch

By Vanessa Hazzard

Originally featured in Massage Today July 2018 Edition

Thai massage is the most well-known branch of traditional Thai medicine. What we currently practice as
Thai massage has been highly influenced by Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, along with
existing indigenous Thai healing practices. Like the Thais, wellness practitioners in the U.S. have also
blended healing practices from around the globe.
Because of the dynamic stretches, massage therapists in the West tend to gravitate towards Thai massage for
use on clients that aim to increase their flexibility. While this is one benefit, this ancient modality is way
more than just stretching.

In Thai massage theory, it is believed to be 72,000 invisible energy pathways, called sen lines, in the body.
Only 10 of those sen lines have been “mapped” on the body and are used during sessions. The sen are
conduits for an energy called, lom, which translates to “wind.” The goal is to remove stagnation within the
sen lines so that lom, can flow more freely. This means that the client experiences a sense of ease (as opposed to dis-ease). This is done through compressions, massage, stretching, movement, as well as an opening mantra recited before laying hands on the client. These physical techniques have energetic intentions. They’re meant to balance the total body and
spirit of the recipient. As research into Thai massage grows, studies have been confirming what practitioners
in Thailand have known for years. This modality is, in fact, beneficial for an array of physical and mental
conditions.

Mental Health

Thai Massage supports mental well-being and has been shown to decrease depression and anxiety. It decreases psychological stress by increasing parasympathetic activity. This activity slows the heart rate and allows the body to “rest and digest”. In 2014, a study was published in Clinical Interventions in Aging that examined how effective Traditional Thai Massage was in treating muscle spasticity, functional ability, anxiety, depression, and quality of life in stroke patients, versus conventional physical therapy (Thanakiatpinyo, et. al. 2014). The results showed that both Thai Massage and physical therapy both helped decrease muscle spasticity, functional ability, and quality of life. Yet, Thai Massage was the only modality that significantly decreased anxiety and depression.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological condition that is the result of abnormal brain development or brain injury. While it can occur prior to birth or during labor and delivery, each person with cerebral palsy will have varying levels of functionality. This can range from being completely immobile to only needing a minimal amount of help with daily tasks. Individuals with cerebral palsy may experience:

  • Physical limitations and loss of function and mobility
  • Difficulty with muscle coordination, control, tone, and reflexes
  • Difficulty with balance and posture
  • Fine or gross motor skills challenges

A 2015 study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand concluded that “Thai Massage decreased muscle spasticity and is suggested to be an alternative treatment for reducing spasticity in young people [6-18] with cerebral palsy” (Malila et.al. 2015). Although treatment and therapy can help manage the effects it has on the body, the damage to the brain is permanent.

Diabetes

People with diabetes may experience lack of balance, coordination, and muscle weakness. Peripheral neuropathy, also common amongst diabetics, is nerve damage resulting in a burning or tingling sensation, particularly in the hands and feet. Thai foot massage, which uses thumbs and reflexology sticks, has been shown to be beneficial for diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy. Results of a study performed at Khon Kaen University showed that “Thai foot massage is a viable alternative treatment for balance performance, ROM of the foot, and the foot sensation in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy” (Chatchawan et. al. 2015).

Knowing the benefits of Thai Massage outside of increasing or restoring flexibility, opens up opportunities for bodyworkers to help a wider array of clients. Whether performed in a Traditional Thai Massage, or in conjunction with western therapies, our clients will benefit from our greater understanding of the applications of this modality.

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Are you interested in studying Thai massage? Come to join me in Koh Samui, Thailand for the Thailand Healing Arts Retreat in June 2019! Learn more by clicking here!

References

Chatchawan, U., Eungpinichpong, W., et al. (2015). Effects of Thai foot massage on balance performance in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy: a randomized parallel-controlled trial. Med Sci Monit Basic Res. 2015; 21:68–75. doi: 10.12659/msmbr.894163. PMID: 25892354.

Malila, P., Seeda, K., Machom, S., Eungpinithpong, W. (2015). Effects of Thai massage on spasticity in young people with cerebral palsy. J Med Assoc Thai. 2015 Jun; 98 (Suppl 5): S92–S96.

Thanakiatpinyo, T., Suwannatrai, S., Suwannatrai, U., Khumkaew, P., Wiwattamongkol, D., Vannabhum, M., Kuptniratsaikul, V. (2014). The efficacy of traditional Thai massage in decreasing spasticity in elderly stroke patients. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 9, 1311–1319. http://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S66416

 

 

Please Share!

Join Vanessa in Thailand!

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Thai culture. Breathe in the sights and sounds while relaxing on gorgeous beaches. Eat healthy meals while meeting new friends!

Learn More

Don't Forget Your Freebie!

Get my free book on relieving low back pain

Get It Now!

Meet Vanessa Hazzard

Since 2005, I have been helping folks to reduce chronic and acute pain, decrease stress, improve athletic performance, restore range of motion, and simply relax while hiding from the kids and in-laws. In short, I help you be resilient to whatever life throws at you!
Sessions take place at Learn Reiki Philadelphia.

Lets get to know each other! Join my Thai Yoga Massage community on Facebook.